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Tufted Puffin .
Tufted Puffin
(Fratercula cirrhata)
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Tufted Puffins are found along the Pacific Rim, from Japan to mid-California. They over-winter individually or in pairs in the open ocean, south of the ice pack.

Bald eagles, gulls, ravens, snowy owls, arctic foxes, rats, and humans.

Silverside, herring, krill, zooplankton, squid, amphipods, crabs, and shrimp.

Sexes look alike; average height of an adult is 15.5 in. tall; have a short wingspan of about 23 in., and weigh on average 1.5 lbs.

Life Span

Average life span is 15-20 years in the wild, but have been known to live up to 25 years in captivity.

Tufted Puffins reach breeding age at approximately three years of age. They tend to form monogamous, often lifelong partnerships. Puffin pairs strengthen their bond with a courtship ceremony and occasionally grunts or growls can be heard in nesting colonies. Using the same burrows each year, they clean and lengthen it out with their bill and claws. Tufted Puffins usually lay only one egg, which resembles a chicken's egg in shape and is dull white in color. The adults take turns incubating the eggs, which last about six weeks. At six weeks of age the chicks fledge from the burrow, usually after dusk or before dawn.

Seasonal Change
During the summer breeding season, adults have dark bodies and white faces. Their legs are orange and their large triangular shaped bill is red-orange, with a buff or olive green plate at the top. The Tufted Puffin is distinguished by the long, straw colored tufts that curve backward from their red-ringed eyes. In the winter, they shed that buffy bill sheath and plumes and their face becomes dusky.

Morphology and Function
Their wings are short and heavy, making take-off and aerial flight difficult but facilitates underwater flying.

Strong nails allow the birds to climb and cling to rocky cliff ledges and to dig burrows.

Tongue shape and fleshy mouth barbs allow Tufted Puffins to carry up to 20 captured prey-fish at a time crosswise in their beaks.

The burrow nests are in dense seabird colonies on rocky cliffs.

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